State fishing tournament No. 57 in Tidioute this weekend

This weekend, fisherfolk and their families from several states will converge in Tidioute for the 57th annual Pennsylvania State Championship Fishing Tournament.

It started in the late 1950’s as just a fishing tournament, but grew into a family and community event over the intervening years.

Before a line gets wet, vendors and organizations will vie for visitors’ dollars with food, games and a carnival beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The festivities will resume Friday evening, and the tournament itself begins after midnight, with weigh-in from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., according to information provided by Linda Scott.

All fish must be taken from the Allegheny Reservoir, Allegheny River from the Kinzua Dam to Hunter Station, Tionesta Lake and Creek from the dam to Kellettville Bridge; Brokenstraw Creek, and all fish must be taken from Pennsylvania waters.

Catch and release rules apply, and the registration and waiver/liability form is required before any fish will be weighed in. There is a six-ounce penalty for each dead fish.

A valid Pa. fishing license is required for all contestants 16-years of age and older. Competitors 9- through 15-years of age are eligible for the Junior Champion Angler trophy and prizes.

Muskellunge must be 40-inches to qualify; northern pike, 24-inches; walleye, 15- inches; smallmouth bass, 12-inches and trout must be 7-inches to qualify. Please observe creel limits according to Pa. fishing regulations.

Finalists for the tournament will be named at 8 p.m., and the Junior Angler will be announced at 9 p.m. Each finalist will be assigned a referee for Sunday’s competition, which begins at 5 a.m.

Adults are not the only ones competing for fishing prizes.

On Saturday, from 9 to 11 a.m., children between the ages of 3- to 10-years old can try their hand at fishing at Benner Park for trout supplied by the Tidioute Lions Club. First, second and third prizes will be awarded for the longest overall length of their catch, as well as a prize for the youngest competitor. Adults may assist in baiting hooks, but the children must do the actual fishing on their own.

The annual parade begins at 1 p.m. Saturday, with judging at 11 a.m. before the parade starts. Fireworks will begin at 9:45 p.m.